godairiki bosatsu 五大力菩薩
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
Lit. five great bodhisattvas of strength. Also godairikiku 五大力吼 (five roars of great strength) or godairikison 五大力尊 (five revered ones of great strength). These five bodhisattvas *bosatsu 菩薩 are described in Chapter 7 of the the Buddhist text NINNOUGYOU 仁王経 as protecting the lands of kings who uphold Buddhism, particularly through obedience to the Tripitaka or three divisions of the Buddhist canon. These consist of the sutras which are the teachings of the Buddha, the rinaya which are the rules of monastic discipline and the abhidharma, which are the commentaries on the other two. Their order, names and attributes differ somewhat in the two translations of this sutra, the earlier of which is by Kumarajiva (Jp: Kumarajuu 鳩摩羅什; 344-413/350-409) and the second by Amoghavajra (Jp: Fukuu 不空; 705-74). In the latter they are referred to collectively as simply the bodhisattvas of the five directions, gohou bosatsu 五方菩薩. In Kumarajiva's old translation kyuuyaku 旧訳, they appear as Kongouku 金剛吼 (wheel), Ryuuouku 龍王吼(lamp), Muijuurikiku 無畏十力吼 (vajra), Raidenku 雷電吼 (net) and Muryourikiku 無量力吼 (sword). In Amoghavajra's new translation shin'yaku 新訳; they appear as Kongoushu 金剛手(Sk: Vajrapani; east, vajra), Kongouhou 金剛宝 (Sk: Vajraratna; south, jewel), Kongouri 金剛利 (Sk:Vajratiksna; west, sword), Kongouyakusha 金剛薬叉 (Sk: Vajrayaksa; north, bell), and Kongouharamitta 金剛波羅蜜多 (Sk: Vajraparamita; centre, wheel). The NINNOUGYOU 仁王経 (generally considered to be an apocryphal work composed in China) was revered in Japan from the Nara period onwards as one of the three state-protecting sutras GOKOKU SANBUKYOU 護国三部経, and the cult of the godairiki bosatsu spread with the institutionalization of the ninnou-e 仁王会, a practice based on the NINNOUGYOU. This ritual which aimed to protect the country was first held in the tenth year of the reign of Empress Saimei 斉明(660). The ninnou-e was celebrated at the foot of Mt. Kouya 高野 in Jison-in 慈尊院 (826) Wakayama prefecture, and then was revived, after a break (1108) in the Kondou 金堂, with the main image *honzon 本尊, for the ceremony being stored in Kitamuro-in 北室院. A variation of the ninnou-e performed annually at Daigoji 醍醐寺 in Kyoto, is in fact called godairiki-san 五大力さん although it is strongly tinged with elements of the cult of the *godai myouou 五大明王. The godairiki bosatsu are depicted in wrathful form, with Kongou seated on a lotus and the other four standing with one leg raised. All extant images date from the Heian period or later, and are related to the celebration of the ninnou-e. Early examples of the godairiki include the iconographic drawing of the *Ninnougyou mandara 仁王経曼荼羅 in the Spencer Collection in the New York Public Library and the set of five standing images in Akishinodera 秋篠寺, Nara. A set of early line drawings *hakubyou 白描 is preserved at Fugen-in 普賢院 in Mt. Kouya. Polychrome depictions include a single-scroll representation kept at Kitamuro-in and a set originally of five hanging scrolls thought to date from the late Heian period and now kept at Yuushi Hachimankou juuhakkain 有志八幡講十八箇院, both in Mt. Kouya. Two scrolls of the latter set were lost in a fire in 1888, and the remaining three (Kongouku, Ryuuoku and Muijuurikiku) have been designated national treasures.


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